Namaste, y’all

Published 11:58 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

I have recently discovered how fun yoga is and what a great workout it can be! Polk County Public Libraries partnered with Foothills Humane Society for Yoga with Cats in March and May, which led me to try an adult exercise class for the first time ever. And I loved it! Now the library is offering free weekly yoga classes, thanks to the generosity of local resident Lily Quinn. She teaches the class on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. on the back deck when the weather permits, and in the community room when it doesn’t cooperate.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, yoga is defined as “a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India” (thanks Wikipedia). That doesn’t conjure up a mental image for me, so I’ll describe it as a series of stretches that focus on breathing and balance. It can be very meditative and relaxing, but it also works your muscles and certain poses can certainly challenge you physically! There are numerous benefits of practicing yoga, including increased flexibility and muscle tone, stress reduction, and an improved mental well-being.

If you’re not quite ready to take a yoga class (although it really is unintimidating and for all abilities) or need a more frequent dose, the library has several yoga DVDs and books you can borrow. Depending on what you’re looking to get out of doing yoga, there are different videos you can check out. We have Yoga for Weight Loss, Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga for Strength, Yoga Trance Dance, and more on DVD. There are an even greater variety of yoga books available, such as 15 Minute Yoga, Yoga for Teens, Preparing for Birth with Yoga, Yoga for Seniors, Yoga for Arthritis, and A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga.

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Of course, yoga is not the only way to relax or reduce stress. Pilates is a similar practice which focuses more on core strength and doesn’t contain the spiritual aspect that yoga often does. You can also do some of the exercises on a Pilates ball. Check out the book Pilates: Body in Motion or the DVD Cardio Pilates from the Columbus Library to get started.

Tai Chi is another similar exercise that combines a series of slow movements with deep breathing. I have never tried tai chi but I’ve heard that like yoga, it can be used to combat many health issues, such as diabetes, arthritis, and back pain. Relevant materials available at the library include Tai Chi for Health and Vitality and Tai Chi Fundamentals.

Art can also be relaxing and therapeutic. We have held a monthly adult coloring club at the Columbus Library for over a year now. Check out Color Me Happy on second Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. This summer, we are offering a six-week session on Bullet Journaling. It combines practicality (making lists and schedules) with creativity (doodling, drawing, stickers). I must admit, I have become addicted!

Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and art activities are also all things you can enjoy inside when the weather outside is frightfully hot and humid. And remember, the library is a great air-conditioned place to come relax and read a book or connect to the internet. Namaste, y’all.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.